Wellbeing and football

Nov 06, 2018, 02:56 PM

In the very first PFA Podcast we take a look at mental health and football - host Neil Mellor is joined by special guests Chris Iwelumo, Sporting Chance's Jeff Whitley and PFA Head of Player Welfare, Michael Bennett. 

Research published by FIFPro the world's players’ association show that symptoms of mental health problems are more widespread in professional footballers than in the general population. The PFA have previously documented some of the stressors within the game that can adversely impact mental health and this episode touches on several of these areas: 

  • We discuss the pitfalls for young players in leaving home at an early age, in addition to the challenges of integrating successfully into the first-team dressing room.
  • The guests look at distractions that can effect players such as social media and gaming, which can have a detrimental impact on areas such as sleep and performance anxiety.
  • The panel discuss how injury impacted them personally and how players can try and deal with long-term injuries.
  • We also look at the impact of simply falling out of favour with a manager, being released or transferring clubs. The short-term nature of football is a looming reality for a large number of players, some of whom will be on shorter term 12-month contracts – a situation that can leave players looking over their shoulder from Christmas onwards.
  • Finally, we look at retirement and transition from football and the various challenges that this can present to players – such as a loss of identity and the practical considerations to do with finance, future employment and income.